Mass shootings - Where are the Good Guys with guns?

We all know that when seconds count the Cops are minutes away. Also when the cops do finally show up the shooters almost always off themselves. With very few exception ( two church shootings I can think of) no civilians (with or without CCW) are reported as intervening in these shooting. As of 2019 over 18.66 million CCW permits have been issued. That does not include the states that allow constitutional carry, where no permit is required. You would think that with that many Good Guys with guns, someone would have emptied a magazine into one of these Nut Jobs! I know thier are many instances where individuals have defended themselves and loved ones with firearms, but very few in mass shootings. Is it a lack of them being present at the event or could it be that the fear of personal liability discourages them from getting involved. I am not judging anyone having to make those choices. I like to think I would step up, but I have never been it at situation and I am not completely sure I would.


Most of the mass shootings happen in gun free zones.


As @Fred_G points out- the majority of these shootings take place in areas where concealed carry is not allowed. Also despite media hype to the contrary, these events are incredibly rare. Additionally as a percentage of the population CCW holders are not that numerous and those that regularly carry are even lower due to all the hurdles that are placed on carrying in a variety of public places. Finally many carriers primary mission is to keep themselves and their families safe not to risk their lives and their families futures by attempting to be heroes.

In an active shooter situation my family, friends and self come first. If I have a clear opening to stop the situation I would likely take action because I would have a hard time living with myself knowing I could have done something. But I can’t afford to throw my life away in an attempt to protect the lives of people who have decided they don’t need to take care of themselves. So running for safety is my planned first response.


I believe that most concealed carry permit holders won’t get involved in these situations because of the consequences of taking action. Afraid of being judged because of a quick decision. Some people get their CCW and won’t even train and when that moment comes they freeze up or just panic. Some will get their CCW and not carry and use their guns for home defense only. If you were part of the military or LEO you would probably run towards the gun fire and try to stop it. I also think that people with CCW permits become discouraged when they hear of another person taking action and going to jail and losing it all, or taking action and getting shot by another permit holder confusing them as a shooter. There are so many reasons.


No the fear is being shot by a cop as you will be the only one with the gun at the time the police arrive


Our first responsibility is to escape, evade, avoid. Not doing this makes you an aggressor and could get you charged for murder. You see, self-defense is just that, defending yourself or those around you. If you are there then you are there but if your not and you hear something going down it is your duty to avoid the situation.


Steve, there’s lots I could say that might be appalling to some like, why save people who choose to be victims? Isn’t it natural selection? If they choose not to protect themselves, why should I risk my life to protect them? Etc Etc Etc.

The bottom line is this…it’s every person’s responsibility to take whatever steps to protect their own life and the lives of their family. If they choose not to arm themselves, then they are choosing to be a victim. My only exception is kids…I will always come to the defense of children. I guess I’m surrounded by too many idiot dems who prefer to be victims than take steps to protect themselves and I’d be saving everyone everyday if I got involved.


In addition to all the comments above…

Same reason why the first cops on scene at many active shooter situations “establish a perimeter” from behind cover while waiting for overwhelming force to arrive on scene, even when (nowadays) their standing orders are usually to locate and close with the shooter(s) immediately.

The vast majority of us do not consider this an acceptable outcome:

People willing to die for strangers are exceptionally rare.


You are sort of answering your own question. People like Jack Wilson who stopped the West Freeway Church of Christ shooter (with one shot) surely saved many lives had he not acted.


When an armed responsible citizen steps up to defend others, such as the church attack, it can be stopped before the mas shooting threshold is reached. As for getting shot by a cop, do not have a gun in your hand when the LEO"s arrive and comply with their orders immediately.


Lots of good reasons listed here. Gun free zones are a big issue. Also consider that you have to be in the right place at the right time. If you’re armed but in a different section of the mall, you can do nothing to stop an active shooting.

@Todd30 mentioned that our first responsibility is to escape/evade/avoid. This could be especially true considering your company. If I’m armed and capable of confronting a shooter, but I have my kids with me, then someone else will have to find the shooter. I’m picking up my kids and running towards the door.

And even we’re alone, no one really knows what their response will be until they’re in this situation. I’ve heard decorated combat veterans who fear they may not be up for the next challenge, even though they’ve proven their mettle. Where does that put those of us who are untested? Consider the Florida deputy who couldn’t bring himself to enter Stoneman Douglas. He was eviscerated online for failure to do his duty- and yes, that was his duty- but how many of us have been in that situation so that that we can honestly look down on another person’s actions? It’s easy to believe I would hunt down and stop an active shooter, but unless I’m in that position I don’t really know. And I hope I never find out.


Where I am from (not where I live now), off duty LEOs respond to active shooter alerts. Then there are the off duty LEOs carrying off duty while shopping at Walmart or the grocery store. Then there are OTHER people who carry. All of that to consider increasing the possibility of a circular firing squad. These folks aren’t military units coordinating fire and maneuver. And even that results in fratricide sometimes.

I’m all for intervention. Don’t get me wrong. But folks should talk about this stuff realistically, not idealistically. Know the possibilities, probabilities, and make good plans and choices accordingly.

Also, the fellas who stopped these church shooters in Texas were defending their friends, relatives, and neighbors…not strangers at a grocery store. In the 2nd case, he was the head of the church safety team. So he had accepted responsibility for that sort of thing and trained the entire team. VERY different OODA Loop dynamics!


If we can escape, evade, avoid, that is our best chance to get out of a situation safely.

However, I will disagree that not doing that means you’re the aggressor. If you are in a position to stop the threat and take the shot, you’re not the aggressor. I would not recommend going to look for the shooter, but those who are appropriately trained and go looking for the shooter (think off-duty police) would not be considered aggressors.

If the shooter starts running and you go after him then, that’s when you’d be an aggressor as the threat “ended” when he started fleeing.


That’s a good point. The MPs who responded at Fort Hood testified that when they saw MAJ Hasan shooting, they didn’t know if he was the bad guy or if he was shooting at the bad guy. What if I responded at an active shooting event but I shot another USCCA member who was also responding, thinking he was the bad guy? These scenarios could be very complex and chaotic.


The way I look at is if the active shooter is actively shooting the people beside me, I like to think I would be moving to cover (or concealment) while drawing and shooting back. Would that happen? I don’t know. I might be one of the 1st people shot in the back and never stand a chance to shoot back. I do feel the only civilians that should be shooting back are the ones caught in the middle of the scene and have the opportunity to react.

I do not believe I would run in from the parking lot to confront an active shooter. I predict I would be moving for cover and calling 911.

Otherwise, this is everyone’s safest bet:


…and the elderly, and the disabled, and the law- and sign-obedient.

Man you are way too harsh. I can’t disagree with what you say, about people abandoning responsibility for their own safety. Still you can’t practice law of the jungle, Heavens forbid an event like this happens, your own conscience (which is only a preview of Higher Judgement) will eat you alive.


It is like being a doctor, don’t do more harm, isn’t it?


That is what I was trying to say,


Although IMO mental illness is involved in most mass shootings, soft targets are a magnet for evil doers.

gun free


I agree with both, but isn’t it interesting that crazy folks bent on mass murder are typically sane enough to find the gun free zones?